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Old 24-10-2013, 13:57   #1
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heading south

Hello all,

My name is Rick and I own a Hardin ketch built in 1982. I live in Hawaii on the big Island and keep the boat on the hard in a town an hour and a half north of Seattle. My wife and I are from Seattle origionally and I decided to keep the boat there and sail during the summers in the protection of the San Juan Islands to get her compfortable with the boat as she had never been on a sail boat until we met 25 years ago. I told her that I want to head to the south pacific or threw the canal and work our way over to the Med and cruise until we've had enough (if that's possible) and then sell the boat and become a land lubber again. I am 61 and want to head out sooner than later while I am still physically fit. She told me that not seeing land scares her which I can understand for someone who hasn't done it before but hope she comes around. I will be taking the boat from the north west down the west coast to at least San Diego or northern Mexico next September and then base it out of there for a while or if she feels compfortable with it then cruise MX for a year and then continue on. She said she doesn't want to go with me while I get the boat south so I may be looking for an experienced hand to help me get the boat down there, well see. Looking foreward to sharing with people in the forum as there is so much valuable information that can be obtained from others.
Aloha
Rick
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Old 24-10-2013, 20:13   #2
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Re: heading south

Welcome Rick. Coastal hoping is a good idea for your partner to get comfortable with. I have met a few couples where they sail together coastal and when a major crossing comes up, the male part of the venture does it with crew and the wife meets him there.
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Old 24-10-2013, 21:16   #3
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Re: heading south

Hi Rick,
Welcome aboard!

Is your boat at Dagmar's? Mine was there for 11 years. Now it's in SF. And you may want to leave the PNW in Aug. on a full moon.
Sept. is unpredictable and one can get caught in the nasties. I left Sept. 1st and was one day ahead of this years record rainfall.

I'm sure you'll enjoy the forum!
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Old 25-10-2013, 05:27   #4
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Re: heading south

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rick.
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Old 25-10-2013, 15:22   #5
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Re: heading south

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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
Hi Rick,
Welcome aboard!

Is your boat at Dagmar's? Mine was there for 11 years. Now it's in SF. And you may want to leave the PNW in Aug. on a full moon.
Sept. is unpredictable and one can get caught in the nasties. I left Sept. 1st and was one day ahead of this years record rainfall.

I'm sure you'll enjoy the forum!
No it's up in Anacortes and hour and a half north of Seattle. I had chosen the middle of September as this would give us a couple of months in the San Juan's before heading out and I have a book called "Cruising destinations" which said that the fair weather window for going down the coast was no later than the end of October so I figured by leaving mid September and going pretty much non stop, I would be clear of any nasty fall weather. It would be nice to hear from some others that have done that trip to see how their weather was in that time of the year.

Rick
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Old 25-10-2013, 23:49   #6
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Re: heading south

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No it's up in Anacortes and hour and a half north of Seattle. I had chosen the middle of September as this would give us a couple of months in the San Juan's before heading out and I have a book called "Cruising destinations" which said that the fair weather window for going down the coast was no later than the end of October so I figured by leaving mid September and going pretty much non stop, I would be clear of any nasty fall weather. It would be nice to hear from some others that have done that trip to see how their weather was in that time of the year.

Rick
Just as an FYI, every year is different here.

The year before last it must have rained every other day all summer long, which makes for miserable sailing. Last year was about 50/50. This year we had the driest July and Aug I've seen in a long time. But Sept. was the wettest on record. And now Oct., I've never seen so much fog, which means no wind. Makes me wonder what winter's going to be like this year.

Most of the cruisers I've talk to seem to think Aug. it the prime month for the west coast transit. And Sept. and later is chancy. Personally, I consider the north Pacific to be much like Cape Horn at times. You really need to keep an eye on the weather going off shore here.
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Old 26-10-2013, 00:56   #7
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Re: heading south

I've sailed that route a half dozen times over the years and I like late August and early Sept. I prefer Sept. as you stand a chance of getting some wind but leave early to avoid the fog. If you want to motor down on the in shore route, stopping along the way to San Francisco then July/August are good months. If you want to sail down non stop then go out about 100-150 miles in the real early part of September and you should have a good sail. Obviously these times are assuming that you keep an eye on the weather.
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Old 26-10-2013, 13:46   #8
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Re: heading south

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I've sailed that route a half dozen times over the years and I like late August and early Sept. I prefer Sept. as you stand a chance of getting some wind but leave early to avoid the fog. If you want to motor down on the in shore route, stopping along the way to San Francisco then July/August are good months. If you want to sail down non stop then go out about 100-150 miles in the real early part of September and you should have a good sail. Obviously these times are assuming that you keep an eye on the weather.
I was planning on pretty much going non stop excepting maybe one duck in for stretching legs or provisioning but I want to get south as soon as possible. I went 20 years between sailboats and have limited offshore blue water time so it would be nice to have someone that has made that passage before along for the trip, is that something that you might consider? I have one other guy who will be coming but he owned a cal 30 for a while and did lake sailing in the great lakes so it would be nice to have a third party with more experience.

Rick
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Old 26-10-2013, 13:51   #9
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Re: heading south

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Just as an FYI, every year is different here.

The year before last it must have rained every other day all summer long, which makes for miserable sailing. Last year was about 50/50. This year we had the driest July and Aug I've seen in a long time. But Sept. was the wettest on record. And now Oct., I've never seen so much fog, which means no wind. Makes me wonder what winter's going to be like this year.

Most of the cruisers I've talk to seem to think Aug. it the prime month for the west coast transit. And Sept. and later is chancy. Personally, I consider the north Pacific to be much like Cape Horn at times. You really need to keep an eye on the weather going off shore here.
Yeh I know what you mean. I was raised in the North West but moved to Hawaii 20 years ago because it seemed to rain/drizzle all the time. As much as I don't like rain, it's more the wind factor I am concerned with. Do you live in the North West and keep the boat in Cal?

Rick
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Old 27-10-2013, 11:02   #10
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Re: heading south

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Yeh I know what you mean. I was raised in the North West but moved to Hawaii 20 years ago because it seemed to rain/drizzle all the time. As much as I don't like rain, it's more the wind factor I am concerned with. Do you live in the North West and keep the boat in Cal?

Rick
I just made the passage this year/summer but still live here in the PNW until I can sell the house.

If you watch the weather patterns you will see that the farther off shore one goes (to a point) the more the wind. The weather fronts move down from Alaska out in the Pacific, and when parallel with WA & OR they head inland and then back north for a ways just west of the Rocky Mts. Then it crosses the mountains and heads East and SE to meet up with the tropical stuff from the Gulf.

GO *here* and chose the PNW and animate the patterns and watch how it moves. Right now it's not doing much b/c we're in a transition to winter but watch it every other day, or so. and you'll notice a southward pattern bring weather down to us.
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Old 27-10-2013, 11:20   #11
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Re: heading south

Hi there Rick
I did the passage from Victoria BC to San Diego as crew during the first two months of September this year. The first week was 20 to 35 either on the nose or on the tail. The second week, south of San Fran, had little wind. I agree with everyone that says September is dicey and I would say October is too late although you never know what the weather will do. I plan on taking my own boat down next year and will try for early August. None of us (3) had any significant offshore experience but we had no real problems. Just make sure you have a bullet-proof autopilot or a windvane and reef early. Our below deck autopilot gave out on us and we would have had to stop several times along the way if we did not have a Monitor windvane. That unit did all the steering in all conditions except for light-to-no wind. Mysteriously the autopilot would usually work in those conditions. You could consider harbour hopping your way down the coast in July/August with land in site. Your wife could then go along. Quite do-able if you have a free schedule so that you can pick your weather.
cheers and good luck,
Gordon
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Old 27-10-2013, 11:22   #12
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Re: heading south

Hi There,
Thanks for the offer but we are wintering in Turkey this year and sailing the Med. As long as you watch the weather you can motor or motor/sail between harbors on the way down. There are some bars that you would want to avoid if the winds were up. I have never done that as I like to get a move on and make tracks plus I don't like mixing it up at night with fish boats although you can damn near daysail that trip. Many of my friends chose to go close to shore harbor hopping route. If you like holding up in little fish towns and enjoy really going slow then its certainly a viable option and it might be the best option for you for all I know.
To me the offshore route is the one I personally like because its the quickest and there are far less things to run into but some folks prefer to have one foot on land.
Whichever way you chose to go, you'll have a fine time and as you start to hook up with new sailing friends it will just get better. And finally when you get to San Francisco the sailing will just get easier and easier as you head south. Have a wonderful trip!!
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Old 26-11-2013, 16:00   #13
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Re: heading south

My one experience sailing out of Portland bound for Hawaii was an October (early) excursion. Got in between two lows that were heading up the coast and ducked into Newport, OR and the predicted weather was nasty from there on out so the trip was canceled by the Captain. That was October 2012 and a very dry year. If I were to do it again I'd pick September.
This November Martin (CelestialSailor) and I spent most the time motoring south of San Diego to La Paz. He had just come down from San Francisco and a lot of that was motoring as well.
Where on the Big Island are you?
kind regards,
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Old 26-11-2013, 16:37   #14
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Cool Re: heading south

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My one experience sailing out of Portland bound for Hawaii was an October (early) excursion. Got in between two lows that were heading up the coast and ducked into Newport, OR and the predicted weather was nasty from there on out so the trip was canceled by the Captain. That was October 2012 and a very dry year. If I were to do it again I'd pick September.
This November Martin (CelestialSailor) and I spent most the time motoring south of San Diego to La Paz. He had just come down from San Francisco and a lot of that was motoring as well.
Where on the Big Island are you?
kind regards,
I live in Kona on the sunny leeward side.

Dive
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Old 27-11-2013, 20:20   #15
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Re: heading south

Yes, drier for certain. Everything is rusty and mold grown over here. : )
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